This book is the work of a 21 year old Marine Corps Sergeant who fought in the battle of Khe Sanh South Vietnam. The author endured the hardships of the 77 day siege recording each day's events and his feelings in his diary. Rather than a historical account of the battle's significance or political ramifications , it is the personal story of one man's experience showing, in sometimes graphic detail, the effect such an intense war experience can have. It is written in the words that were used by the young Marines and those words are not meant to be racist or derogatory. This individual account of life "inside the wire" provides an incredibly detailed and poignant illustration of the everyday infantrymen who found a way to exhibit extraordinary courage despite abhorrent conditions. The day to day events flow well from one subject/day to the next and crescendos to the incredible story of the author being wounded and whisked from the battlefield and shipped "back to the world." Walk with this young Marine as he struggles to keep his men on task, prepared for what ever may come and most importantly, alive. Listen while he talks to his superiors on the radio trying to give a tactical assessment of the situation and bring help to his pinned down platoon. Be with him when he is holding a dying fellow Marine and in one instant goes from having his head on the chest of his dead friend to pulling himself together and taking charge of the platoon. Laugh with him as the stories are told about the happenings of fellow Marines returning from R&R and the girls in Hong Kong and Bangkok. The Battle for Khe Sanh is among some of the most important in American military history and a significant source of pride for military veterans and civilians alike. Even President Barack Obama mentioned the Battle for Khe Sanh in his inaugural speech along with other great American battles like Gettysburg and Normandy.
Jim Oyster is a decorated Marine Corps veteran of the Battle of Khe Sanh and additional engagements in the Vietnam War. He received two Purple Heart medals as well as a Bronze Star with Valor. During his tour in Viet Nam Jim served as a fire team leader, squad leader, right guide, platoon sergeant, and platoon commander. Following his discharge from the Marine Corps Jim went to Fairmont State College, in Fairmont,West Virginia, receiving his under-graduate degree in Education and later received his Masters Degree in Speech Communication from West Virginia University, in Morgantown, West Virginia. He then embarked upon a thirty-eight year career in education serving as a high school and middle school teacher, principal and coach. His Marine Corps training and unique experiences in the military along with his desire to educate and mentor America's youth enabled him to inspire countless young men and women to work above and beyond their perceived talents and abilities. His belief in the attributes of positive thinking and perseverance have guided his life accomplishments, and highlighted his ability to overcome adversity and to embrace life to the fullest.